Local News

Sep 1, 2010 10:53 PM by Ariel Wesler

Runway expansion could mean more flights

Some big changes are on the horizon for the Santa Maria Airport thanks to a grant from the F.A.A. The airport has received the funding it needs to extend its main runway.

Expanding the runway at the Santa Maria Airport could eventually mean expanded service and more routes for you to travel,destinations farther than Los angeles and Las Vegas.

"We either have to go to Santa Barbara and I hate going to L.A.," said Mary Canfield of Santa Maria.

The heavier the plane and the hotter the day, the more room it needs to take off. That poses problems for long distrance flights requiring more fuel.

"Where the runway helps us is with the calculations for takeoff, when you have full of passengers full of fuel, the performance of the aircraft comes into play," said Airport Manger Chris Hastert.

The runway is currently 6300 feet long. It's going to be extended to be 8000 feet, which means more aircraft can travel farther.

Airport officials say it's a long term project to plan for the economic future of Santa Maria and help the Central Coast soar.

"The longer range business jets. They'll be able to reach asia, hawaii, nonstop from Santa Maria," Hastert said.

Rep. Lois Capps made an appearance at the airport to make the official announcement. She helped the airport secure the $4 million grant from the F.A.A. a grant that could attract airlines.

"This will just be one of the added components to that marketing plan to show that we have the capability to serve the airlines wherever their future needs are," Hastert said.

And possibly reduce a laundry list of layovers.

"Santa Maria to LAX to San Francisco to Eugene. Six hours of layovers to get where I need to go," said Trisha Ganatta of Santa Maria.

The airport is working to get service to Denver. Officials applied for a grant at the end of August. They should find out whether the F.A.A. approves it by the end of the year.

Airport officials say construction has been carefully planned out so it should not delay your flights.

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